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Sensi Magazine

Why You Want a Packaging Professional

Oct 29, 2017 10:02PM ● By Advisory Board
In life, you get what you pay for; packaging is no exception. it’s one of the fastest ways to create your brand image, command a pricing premium, differentiate from your competition, and appeal to consumers. this is especially important in cannabis, where there’s a race to the bottom in many segments. for companies wishing to stay competitive and preserve margin, packaging is key. There are many ways to get packaging–you can source yourself, use a packaging professional, or find a broker. each option has its benefits and drawbacks, and all of them follow the get-what-you-pay-for rule. 

Many people think that the self-sourcing approach will be easy. Look online, find a manufacturer in China through Alibaba, and reach out directly. Unfortunately, it’s usually not so straightforward. There are the foreseeable obstacles like time zones and language barriers—these can be overcome but, over time, losing two days trying to have a simple conversation has a huge impact on timing for your product. That said, it’s the unforeseen issues that wreak havoc on your business: delivery timing, customs holdups and, perhaps most importantly, issues with
materials and compliance. Many manufacturers will assure you their components are child safe when in actuality, they aren’t certified. At the end of the day, the MED doesn’t care what you were told: if your packaging isn’t truly compliant, you’re liable.

A packaging professional, on the other hand, becomes an extension of your team. You’re free to focus on your business when you’re not trying to become an expert, so it pays to leverage someone with tons of experience. Professionals understand the industry, compliance, the options, the materials, and the implications for your brand. It’s their job to uncover your objectives and help you create the brand equity you need, on budget. They’ll manage the entire process—customizing every element, or guiding you on where you can customize from stock products. They manage direct relationships with manufacturers so you can have your items made locally or in the USA, ensuring your components will be right, and right on time. They understand your products, and how the materials impact your product integrity and the consumer experience. Most people don’t know that you shouldn’t have terpenes in contact with polyethylene, the same plastic used in milk jugs, because the hydrocarbons will bind and leach into the product. 

The majority of packaging companies out there are, in fact, just brokers. They have no formal packaging experience and are frequently only slightly better than sourcing yourself. They make the phone calls to China in the middle of the night and add their margin. As mere resellers, they don’t necessarily care if something is not actually compliant or have any recourse when components get held up in customs. They don’t have a background in materials, and it’s very difficult for them to do anything truly custom for your brand. 

With your brand’s profitability and reputation on the line, the cheapest option in packaging is often penny wise and pound foolish. Use a packaging professional.